5 From the Farm: September 20, 2017 2

young farmers

Well, things on the farm have been busy and I’ve had plenty of thoughts I’ve wanted to share with you…..then another day passes….

Anyhow, here are 5 things that we’ve been talking about/excited about lately here on the farm:

organic melon

  1. Melons! I’m pretty sure that there is no better season for us than melon season. At least when the melons have done really well like they have this year. At this time of year, we eat them every day. We’ve got a number of different types:
  • Cantaloupe: We grow a few different cantaloupes, of various sizes including First Kiss which is smaller and basically a single serving size. We love them all. I really didn’t like cantaloupes growing up, it wasn’t until I tasted my first locally grown ones that were harvested ripe that I fell in love.
  • Honeydew: The one we grow has orange flesh which is unusual but still looks like a regular honeydew from the outside (with a smooth, whitish skin). We grow this variety because we think they taste the best.
  • Charentais: A type of cantaloupe, but fancier and insanely good.
  • Dove/Sensation: Tastes pear-like, or like honey. This one’s our favourite. The flesh inside is white.
  • Galia tropical melons: These ones are the earliest ones we grow. We love them because they give us that initial taste of melon while we’re impatient for the melon season to get going.
  • Piel de Sapo: This one was new to us this year. The flesh is white and crispy and very sweet. New love!
  • Watermelons: This year, we grew more unusual watermelons, one with orange flesh and one with yellow flesh. They both taste like watermelon and are so so good and so so refreshing. They do have seeds but that’s how watermelon should be in our opinion. (Bonus, you can eat the seeds – extra nutrients!).

We’ve also been freezing plenty for our own winter use. Melon smoothies in the winter are the best.

Chef Andrew from the Wild Caraway Restaurant in Advocate Harbour, NS has been using our melons for an INCREDIBLE dessert (that we got to try this past weekend!) called Tropical Advocate. Here’s a picture from their instagram page.

Wild Caraway


It’s amazing how many people don’t realize that melons grow well here. Although, I do think we have particularly great soils for growing melons on our farm….


2) Book I’m reading (and LOVING!): Enough is Enough: Building a Sustainable Economy in a World of Finite Resources by Rob Dietz and Dan O’Neill. We got this book out from our local library and from the first page have been loving it. It’s a big picture/global idea book, which is awesome, but it also relates to how we see the economy of our farm. We’re really not into the model of growth at all costs on our farm. And this book really focuses on a model of ENOUGH rather than CONSTANT GROWTH or MORE, MORE, MORE.


Steady-state economy


Here’s a little taste for you: “4 main features characterize a steady-state economy…..1) sustainable scale, 2) fair distribution of income & wealth, 3) efficient allocation of resources, 4) a high quality of life for all citizens. Currently, GDP serves as the main measure of economic progress, but increases of GDP are not translating into increases in well-being for people in high-consuming countries.”


The book goes through different areas of the economy and discusses what we’re doing, what we could do instead, and where we can go from here.

Great Canadian Bumble Bee Count


3) We were pretty excited about the Great Canadian Bumble Bee Count this year. We tried hard to take lots of bumble bee pictures, though ones where we could properly identify the bees were hard (bees move quickly…we had countless blurry photos). There are a whole bunch of different types of bumble bees and quite a few are at-risk. It was fun to have a focus on the bumble bees all over our farm. We were surprised that only 20 people from NS sent in photos to the Count. And no one from NB. The website still has really useful resources like an easy identification of eastern Canadian bumble bees. It’d be a really fun thing for parents to do with kids. Or kids to do at school…. Below is one of the photos we submitted. This bumble bee is called Bombus ternarius or the Tri-coloured Bumble Bee.

Bombus ternarius


4) Lisianthus: This is a flower that we grew for the 1st time this year. We’d been intimidated as we’d heard it took forever to grow so many flower farmers buy small plants (referred to as ‘plugs’). But no one sells organic plugs around here so we weren’t super into that idea. Well, we started the seeds this year in February which I was worried was too late but I didn’t want to get things going before then. And they did take seemingly forever to grow. And something called ‘rosetting’ can happen if the young seedlings are exposed to too-hot temperatures where they won’t send up a nice quality stalk. And I couldn’t tell if ours had rosetted….but I know they were exposed to some temperatures they probably thought were too hot. And then we planted them out and they all started sending up some stalks and now there are tall beautiful stalks with flowers just starting to open up (the first blooms are shorter on the stalk and we pinched them off for bud vases in our house). And they are BEAUTIFUL!!! I am so pleased.


flower farm New Brunswick


5) IFOAM: Stands for International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements. This organization is the worldwide umbrella group for organic farming. The organization that people, organizations or companies join to be “part of the movement.” It’s like the conscience of the organic movement. Anyway, there are regional groups that feed into the global group. And a regional group in North America was recently started (about a year ago).

And Shannon just got elected to the board of the North American IFOAM.

IFOAM- Organics International (the global one) has done some really great things. Perhaps one of the most exciting/inspiring new things is the vision of Organic 3.0. Organic 3.0 is about where we need to/should go in the future so the movement can fulfill its vision of changing the world for the better. I wrote a blog post about last year.

But I also highly recommend reading IFOAM’s Organic 3.0 document for yourself.

IFOAM’s website has all kinds of neat resources in general that you can peruse.

This week also happens to be Organic Week in Canada! Try this Organic IQ Quiz to see where you land.


Otherwise, we’re out in the fields…..

agroecological farm

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2 thoughts on “5 From the Farm: September 20, 2017

  • Sue McNairn

    Hi Shannon & Brian;
    Enjoyed reading your blog & seeing the fantastic pictures of your produce. What a variety of melons—haven’t heard or tasted some of the varieties you mentioned. the bumblebees are beautiful as are the flowers. Congratulations on growing the Lisianthus. You certainly have a green thumb (s).